Snow Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This English and Anglo-Saxon last name originated as a nickname for a person who had a very pale complexion or very white/blonde hair, from the Old English word snaw, meaning snow. In this theory, it may refers to the Viking, Norse, or Scandinavian folks that ended up establishing roots in England during medieval times. In some cases, it can also be an Americanized and shortened form of the German/Jewish surnames Schnei, Schnee, and Schneu. Others believe it means “the son of Snow”, similar to the last names Winter and Frost, which represents seasons, and was the name given to a child born in the snow. Others suggest the name derives from an old, perhaps mythical King of Denmark named Snow, and Snaer is a personification of snow in Norse mythology. Others mention is may be from the Dutch word snoo or Dano-Norwegian word snu, meaning cunning, sly, and crafty, (and hence referred to a person with these character traits) although there doesn’t seem to be much momentum behind this theory. It is believed the family first established itself in Rutland, likely before the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD, where they held land and titles. Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Snowe, Snaw, Snows, and Snew.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Snow ranks 687th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following four states: Utah, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
The surname Snow frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (1,284th), Scotland (2,488th), Wales (1,303rd), Ireland (2,634th) and Northern Ireland (3,642nd). In England, it ranks highest in county Devon. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Berwickshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Glamorganshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Meath. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Fermanagh. Henry Brougham Guppy’s 1890 book Homes of Family Names in Great Britain states the following in regard to this last name: “The Snows are now found in Devon, Essex, and Staffordshire. In the 13th century the name was represented in the form of Snou in Wilts, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire”.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (591st), New Zealand (1,476th), Australia (1,488th), and South Africa (3,489th).
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearer of this popular English surname was Richard Snow, who was documented in the Assize Court of Worchestershire in 1221 AD. The Feet Fines document one Robert Snow in county Suffolk in 1239 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists two bearers of this surname: Henry Snou (Buckinghamshire) and William Snow (Oxfordshire). The Close Rolls of 1285 list one Roger Snow. The Poll Tax of 1379 AD lists Willelmus Snawe and Richardus Snaw. An early marriage involving this surname was Saban Snowe to James Jobson in 1569.
Valentine Snow (1685-1759), Sergeant Trumpeter for George Frideric Handel and King George III
Snow Family Tree & Snow Genealogy
John Anthony Snow was born in Porlock, Somerset, England around 1360 AD. He was a yeoman farmer. He had a son named John Anthony II. This John Anthony II was born in the same town in 1830 and had the same occupation as his father. He had a son named John Anthony III. This John Anthony Snow III was born in Porlock, Somerset in 1405 AD. He married Cheryl Elise Pacey and had a son with her named Anthony. This son, Anthony Snow, was born in Portlock, Someset, England in 1430. He married Amy Hartley and had a son with her named Richard. Richard Snow was born in The Thomas Farm, Curry Mallet, Somersetshire in 1460 AD. He married Elizabeth Hartherly and had two sons with her: Richard Jr. and James. His son James Snow was born in Portlock, Somerset in 1498. He married Martha White and had a son with her named Nicholas Sr. Nicholas Snow Sr. was born in Saint Dunstant, Stepney, Middlesex, England in 1530. He married Katherine Harwoode and had a son with her named Nicholas II. His son Nicholas II was born in Bow, Middlesex, England in 1578. He married Elizabeth Rowlles. He is the presumed father of Nicholas, the first of the family to emigrate to America. Nicholas Snow was born in Huxton, Middlesex, England around 1599. He went to New England in colonial America aboard the famous ship the Mayflower. In 1627, he married Constance Hopkins in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. They had the following children together: Mark, Mary (Paine), Sarah (Walker), Joseph, Stephen, John B. Sr., Elizabeth (Rogers), Jabez, Ruth (Cole), Constance, and Samuel.
Nicholas’ five sons and their issue are discussed as follows:
1) Mark Snow was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1628 and married Anne Cooke and later Jane Prence, having the following children: Anna (Atwood), Mary (Nickerson), Elizabeth, Thomas, Sara, Prence Sr., Elizabeth, and Hannah.
2) Lieutenant Joseph Snow was born in Plymouth, MA in 1628 and married a woman named Mary, having the following children: Joseph, Benjamin, Mary, Sarah (Young), Ruth (Brown), Stephen, Lydia (Lincoln), Rebecca, James, Jane, and Josiah.
3) Stephen Snow was born in Plymouth Colony, New England in 1636 and married Susanna Deane and later Mary (Cottle) Bickford, having the following children: Bathshua (King), Hannah (Cole), Micajah, Bethia (Smith), Mehitable, and Ebenezer.
4) John B. Snow Sr. was born in Plymouth, MA in 1638 and married Mary (Smalley) Doane, having the following children: Hannah (Doane), Mary, Abigail (Small), Rebecca (Porter), John B. Jr., Isaac B., Lydia, Elisha, and Phebe (Dyer).
5) Jabez Snow was born in Plymouth, MA in 1642 and he married Elizabeth (Smith) Merrick and had the following children with her: Jabez II, Edward, Sarah (Snow), Grace, Thomas, Deborah, Rachel, Mercy (Wetherell), and Elizabeth (Kendrick).
Mark’s (the oldest of Nicholas’s sons) son Lieutenant Nicholas Snow was born in Eastham, Barnstable, MA in 1663. He married Lydia Shaw and had the following issue with her: Nicholas, Jonathan, Mark, Nathaniel Jr., Joshua, Thankful (Burgess), Sarah, Phebe, and Prence. His son Nathaniel Sr. was born in the same town in 1697. He married Elizabeth Eldredge and had sons with her named William Sr., Nathaniel Jr., and Samuel. His son, William Snow Sr., was born in Rochester, Massachusetts in around 1728. He married twice: Priscilla Richmond and Temperance Rogers. He had a son named William. This William was born in North Carolina around 1769. He married Dorinda Perry and had a son with her named Samuel Frost. Samuel Frost Snow was born in North Carolina in 1799. He married Sarah Hall in Cumberland, Kentucky in 1819. He had tow issue: Adaline Wats (Burris) and Franklin Green. His son Franklin Green Snow was born in Clinton, Kentucky in 1827. He married Martha Ryan and had a son named Alonzo F. He joined the Confederate Army and enlisted in the 27th Texas Cavalary. His son Alonzo F. Snow was born in 1854. He married Laura Johanna Burkhardt and had a daughter named Florence. Florence Snow was born in the 1900s, had a daughter, and passed away in the 1950s.
Sir Richard Patrick Snow, son of Richard Snow and Dorithe Harlocke, grandson of Richard, great grandson of Anthony, was born in Hartland, Devonshire, England around 1517. He married Isolde de Bery and had the following issue with her: Alice (Shaplee), Peter, Richard de Bery, and John. His family owned land in the area since the 1200s AD. Given the family were farmers, it is assumed Richard Patrick earned the title of Sir through military training. His son John Snow was born in Northam, Devo, England around 1548. He married a woman named Joan, and they had a son named Barnard. Barnard was born in around 1570. He married Frances Bould at Bishops Nympton, Devon, and had a son with her named Hugh. This Hugh Snow was born in the same town in 1599. He married Thomasine Stockham and had a child with her named John. John was born in Halberton, Devon, England around 1631. He married a woman named Thomasin and had a son with her named Amos. Amos Snow was born in Halberton in 1670. He married Dorothy Melhuish and had a son with her named John. John Snow was born in Halberton, Devon in 1702. He married a woman named Agnes and had one son and one daughter with her: William and Agnes (Ingram). William Snow was born in Halberton in 1714. He married Martha Pearce and had the following children with her: Mary, Joan, Anne, Sarah, John, William, James, and Agnes. His son James was born in Halberton, Devon, in 1761. He married Sarah French and later Jane Bower. His son was named John. This son, John Snow was born in 1801 in the same town. In 1822, he married Elizabeth Upton Hill and had the following issue with her: Edwin, Emma Maria, Henry, Sydney, George Henry, Emma, Thomas, Maria Jane, Charles, Carol Sophia, and Harriett. His son Henry Snow was born in Tiverton, Devon England. He went to Australia where he married Mary Crick in 1857 at Ballarat, Victoria. They had four issue: William James, Frank Hill, Alice Maud Mary, and Clara. His son William James Snow was born in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in 1858. He married Adeline Grace Stevens and had the following issue with her: William Henry, George, Alice Maud Eliza, Clara Adeline, John, Irene Mary, Vera Dunn, and Lily Myra. His daughter Alice Maud Eliza Snow was born in 1886 in the same town. She married Darcy Stacey Brown and had three children: Henry Verne Brown, William Lynn Brown, and Darcy Charles Brown. She died in 1961.
A one William Snowe was born in England around 1470. He had a daughter named Elizabeth who was born in Bishops Stortford in 1513. She married Thomas Jernegan and had a daughter with her named Bridget who married into the Miller family.
Major William Haviland Snowe was born in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland around 1758. He had a daughter named Mary Catherine Nash who was born in Bath, Somerset, England in 1813. She married James Kendall in 1838 and had sons named John and Haviland.
John Snowe was born in Wiveliscombe, Somerset, England around 1550. He was sent to Oxford and graduated from Hart Hall (Herford College). He had a son named Ralph. Ralph was born in Oxford, England in 1613.
Luke Snowe was born in England prior to 1585. He had two sons named Nicolas and Jeremiah. His son Nicholas Snowe was born in Tisbury, Wiltshire, England in 1608. He married Jane Shadbon and had a son with her named William. William Snow was born in St. Thomas Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1638. He had a son named Thomas. This son, Thomas Snow, Esq. was born in Marlborough, Wiltshire in 1682. He had 9 children with his wife Anne Jarman: William, Thomas, John, George, Thomas, Robert, Henry, Thomas Jr., and William. His son Robert Snow Esq. as born in Mill Hill, Hendon, Middlesex. He married Valentina Paul and had seven issue: Thomas, George, Valentina, Valentina, Anne, Robert, and Frances. His son George Snow Esq. was born in Hendon, Middlesex in 1745. He married twice: Elizabeth Paul and later Elizabeth Woodcock. He had several issue, including Robert Paul and Thomas. His son Reverend Thomas Snow was born in Langton Lodge, Blandford, Dorset, England in 1785. He married Maynard-Eliza D’Oyly and had six children with her: Reverend George, Harriett Maynard, General Thomas Tochfort, Eliza, Charles Hastings, and Isabella Maud.
Early American and New World Settlers
Some settlers in colonial America bearing this surname include Nicholas and Constance Snow (Massachusetts 1620), Nicholas Snow (Massachusetts 1623), Henry Snow (Virginia 1636), Elfred Snow (Virginia 1702), Elizabeth Snow (Virginia 1724), and Josiah Snow (Virginia 1724).
In Canada, one of the first settlers bearing this last name was John Snow (and his sons) who lived in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and held lands there since before 1675. In Australia, one of the first bearers was James Snow, a convict from Somerset, who came to Van Diemen’s Land (present day Tasmania) aboard the Argyle in 1831. In 1847, another James Snow came to Adelaide aboard the Aboukir. In New Zealand, a family bearing this name came to Nelson in 1842 aboard the London. It included William Snow, a farmer by trade, age 28, and his wife Mary who was about a decade older. They also brought children with them including William, Emma, and Edwin.
Early Americans Bearing the Snow Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927), Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook (1907), and Crozier’s General Armory (1904) do not contains any entries for this last name.
We have 5 coats of arms for the Snow surname depicted here. These 5 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore an Snow Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Snow Family Crest)
1) Richard Snowe of Chicksand, Bedfordshire, England, 15 February 1515-16 by Hawley
There are hundreds of notable people with the Snow surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Brittany Anne Snow (1986) who is an American actress born in Tampa, Florida, best known for her roles in films such as John Tucker Must Die, Prom Night, The Vicious King, and the Pitch Perfect franchise, 2) Charles Percy Snow (1905-1980), Baron Snow, was an English chemist, British Civil Servant, politician and novelist born in Leicester, 3) Peter Trafton Snowe (1943-1973) was a businessman and politician who served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1967-1973, 4) Olympia Snow (1947), born as Olympia Jean Bouchles, is an American politician, wife of the aforementioned Peter Trafton Snow, who served as the US Senator from Maine from 1995-2013, and also was previously in the US House of Representatives from 1979-1995, and in the Maine State Senate from 1977 to 1979, 5) Valaida Snow (1904-1956) who was an African-American jazz musician and entertainer born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 6) William Pennell Snow (1907-1986) who was a U.S. Ambassador to Burma and later Paraguay, as well as Vice Consul in Paris, having been born in Bangor, Maine, 7) Robert Anthony “Tony” Snow (1955-2008) who was an American journalist, news anchor, political pundit, columnist, radio host, and White House Press Secretary under the George W. Bush administration from 2006-2007, born in Berea, Kentucky, 8) Lieutenant General Sir Thomas D’Oyly Snow (1858-1940) who was a British Army officer born in Newton Valence, Hampshire, England who served in World War I, the Mahdist War, and Zulu War, 9) John William Snow (1939) who was the 73rd United States Secretary of the Treasury from 2003-2006 who was formerly the CEO of CSX Corporation, born in Toledo, Ohio, and 10) John Snow (1813-1858) who was an English doctor and pioneer in the fields of anesthesia and hygiene who was born in York, UK, whose findings had a positive impact on the water and waste systems of the city of London, which then spread to other cities throughout the world.